Gaelforce Dublin Report

Race start
Gaelforce Dublin start

It had been almost a year since ‘The Race’ in Donegal. Hard to believe it and even harder to believe, despite all the races and events I hadn’t taken part in a multi sport race since. My training certainly wasn’t race specific and with Donadea 50k still in the legs I knew I was in for a slog. There was no prior warning as to what the Dublin hills are like though! Nasty little buggers!

I knew the field of athletes was strong and that it would be quick from the off. This would be the case throughout. I arrived to registration with Lisa, my sister as support and met up with some more guys from the West as well as a few well known racers from the last few years. My friend Dave was taking part in his first ever multi sport race and had used a training plan of mine to train up. I had everything crossed for him in hope he would enjoy it and do well.

The start was at 9.30 on the dot, all extremely well organised by the gaelforce crew. They were excellent throughout. We sprinted around the first kilometre and I hoped to hang on to the lead group as we headed out on the bike. It was soon everyone for themselves as the hills came thick and fast. The hills turned into farm tracks and there was no option but to run with the bike or be certain of a puncture. I was sitting in about 6th at this point, only about 7k into the race but almost all at close to max heart rate. The hills continued with a brief fast downhill section after out second off-road section which was nicely flooded in parts. I realised now how much I missed these adventure type races. Mud from head to toe!

Following a fast downhill we turned into the entrance for the reservoir and reached the bike drop before a short kilometre run to the kayaks. I was up to fourth at this stage and sitting on thirds tail. Here I would stay around the loop on the reservoir before exiting the kayak with a completely numb ass. The water was an icy 2degrees and the sit on top kayaks take plenty on board. It must of been 2k into the run before I had any feeling back in the glutes!

Almost at the end of mountain run section.

I settled into the run, briefly moving into 3rd place but realising I had very little in the legs. I felt like I had about 30km ran and legs would only go one pace. I ran the uphill with Matt who was doing, The Race, in a few weeks and was keen to hear all about it, between breaths that was. We climbed for 2km running slowly but steadily as well. The leaders were about 3 minutes ahead by the time we turned to descend back towards the reservoir and the final bike stage. I felt better on the downhill and was delighted to see Dave was cruising around the top 40 and we high fived as I flaked down the hill. Matt was strong and left me for dead on the run, proving I had little in me. I managed to put in a decent effort on the final bike. It included a nasty long climb, literally lung busting all the way, in and out if the saddle the whole time. Following this was a wicked descent, which I was loving until I came into a bad bend too quickly. Slow motion took over as my back wheel lost traction. I ended up slowimg a bit but not enough and before I knew it myself and the bike were somewhere between a barb wire fence and a big tree. My right calf muscle instantly cramped and I let a roar of annoyance out of me. All very good language of course. I hopped back on knowing any ground I made up was now gone and it was a matter of holding 4th to the finish. I flew down into Tallaght and the finish, broke two red lights, clipped a guard that was marshalling a roundabout and bombed down the home straight happy to know the finish was close. I dropped the bike and ran around Shamrock Rovers home ground to finish the 49km course in 2 hours 31 minutes. A happy chappy.

Dave finished in 43rd overall, a phenomenal effort for a first timer and even though he wasn’t ready to hear it, I told him he had a future at this malarchy !!

Thanks to all involved in the organising of the event and to Lisa for her top support as always.

Next up is Transvulcania in May. There will be plenty challenges and training days before then!

Race Report, The Race 2017

The question is, how do you account for a race of this time and distance in one blog post? A total of 247km over 15 hours and 21 minutes. Can I try and account for this in a single post. I will give it a shot and hopefully give those of you interested an account of one of the toughest and most amazing days of my life. What an event to be part of. All proceeds going to Gorta and all the people organising it on a voluntary basis. It really was a privilege to be involved.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

After a journey up to Donegal, accompanied by my sister Lisa, we arrived at the bike drop in Rathmullan and from there travelled to the box drop and start line in Garton Adventure Centre on the shores of Garton Lake. The organisation was superb and I had all boxes for 4 transitions and registration sorted by about 4pm. Plenty of time to settle in, get some food, attend the race briefing and get a few hours sleep before things kicked off at 5am. There was a great buzz about and everyone was in even better mood as the forecast was good for Saturday. I managed to get about 5 hours of sleep before the start. The start can be seen in the video above and the buzz is felt even in the video as we set off on our 23km road run to Ramelton for the kayak stage.

Stage 1 23km road run.

The run began at a decent pace and I found myself running with Shaun Stewart and Marty Lynch as well as another competitor early on. We were running a pace of 3.50 to 4 minutes per kilometre. This was way too fast for my intended time so within about 4km I backed off a bit and settled into a 4.25 pace for the remainder of the run. This was more comfortable but I also intended to save my legs as there was one hell of a day ahead and my intension was still to finish and wherever I found myself position wise would be. The run really had little to write home about as it was dark until the last few kilometres. I finished in 1 hour and 43 minutes and cruised into transition feeling nicely warmed up. I met Shaun as I went in the door. He was already on the way to the kayak and going well. Of course having raced and trained with Shaun and having become good friends, I was hoping the day would go really well for him and he would take the victory. I entered transition in fifth and exited in less than 3 minutes in third.

Kayak Stage 2. 15km.

I ran from transition with my paddle, buoyancy aid and backrest, grabbed a kayak, clipped on the backrest, almost slipped on the slipway and hoped into the boat to paddle away. The crowd were cheering us on with great vigor. I turned the boat towards the course and on my first stroke disaster struck! My carbon fibre paddle split in two. With disgust I through half of it away. I paddle back to shore with the other half and I roared at the marshal for a paddle and they quickly through down another one. I heard later that Shaun’s brother, Patrick, actually helped grab a paddle for me and get me going again.I had to laugh at this point of the chances of such a thing happening at the start of the paddle. My luck of course was that it happened here and not 5 miles out to sea. I got going and soon settled into a bit of rhythm. I could see Martin Lynch was only about 200 yards ahead and Shaun was almost out of sight. I was happy to push hard during this section but there was no need to go into the red. The sit on top kayaks only do a certain speed and time gained would be minimal. Energy could be more adequately spent later in the race.

The water was like glass as we paddled down the river and estuary into Lough Swilly. The tide was in our favour and the morning was close to perfect. A seal popped it’s head up between my boat and Martin’s about half way across the bay. I’d say he was unimpressed by 78 kayaks moving through his territory first thing in the morning. I decided with my luck so far it was most likely the seal would land on the front of my boat at any minute, but unfortunately it never happened. I had this experience while kayaking in New Zealand. Probably not the kind of thing that happens twice. So to this point it probably all sounds like a walk in the park. The legs and arms had a good warm up but the real race was about to start as we pulled into the Bike transition at Rathmullan. The final few paddle strokes were fun as we paddled under the pier with crowds of people looking down at us, including Lisa. I shouted up at her ” we are sucking diesel now”, which got a good laugh from a few of the locals. Out of the boat and a run up into transition for the bike.

Bike 1. 96km

I changed into cycling kit, out of pretty wet and cold kayaking gear. There were about 5 of us in transition with Shaun gone ahead and Martin soon got going. I took an extra two minutes to eat a jar of overnight oats and have a coke and some water. A good breakfast at my usual time of about 8.15am!

I came out of the transition trailer, left my box at my bike and grabbed my bike. At this point I realised there was no helmet with my bike. Disaster number two at transition number two! The marshals quickly got on the case and started searching. One of the race directors was straight in on the action and said he would sort whatever time I lost, as it was their mistake. Lisa was there and shouted that she had the car and could grab my spare helmet. Obviuosly an unsupported race but on this occasion it was not my mistake and they said go for it and get a helmet. Lisa found the helmet and 3 minutes would be deducted from my finish time. I didn’t get flustered by all this as I knew this was only the start of a long day and no point getting stressed and emotional so early on. Stick with your own plan and all will be well, start trying to race those around you at this stage and I could have a really bad day.

Once out on the road I found myself swapping and changing with Peter O Donnell, another of the local guys. We were in 4th and 5th throughout the cycle with Michael Mchugh, Martin and Shaun ahead of us. I was happy  to spin up the hills and try get some speed up on the downhills. The average speed was decent but the hills, well what can you say about this cycle. I suppose my cycling experience, apart from some multisport races, a few sportives and charity cycles and my own training really isn’t that amazing. I haven’t cycled in multi day events and since I started adventure racing in 2010, cycling has been my second sport to running. Therefore I may be corrected on this but in my experience this 96km is the hardest 96km you can do in Ireland. If anyone knows harder, give me a shout and I’ll come for a spin! Hill after hill after hill, relentless in and out of the saddle. One man said to me after the race that the hills were so bad that he couldn’t spin out his legs to shake the lactic acid as the gradient was too steep. Slow and painful on the ascent followed by teeth gritting and elbow tensing fast decents, far too fast to spin your legs out.This was the case for 4 solid hours on that first cycle. I actually feel like I enjoyed it so much more than my first experience of the area when training. Maybe I was fitter or maybe the weather played a part. When I looked up from the pain of the hills there was nothing but beauty around me. The beaches, the hills, fields full of lambs, small country cottages, everything was in it’s finest spring glory. The sun was splitting the rocks and the fluids were leaving my body faster than I could replace them. A local pulls up along side me in his car and says “this is a long one, keep her lit”, as I start the ascent of Lough Salt hill. A long long gradual climb to the finish at a steep short climb. Almost all the locals i met said “keep her lit”, a saying you hear all the time in Donegal. I decided I better take local advise and keep on pushing. The top of Lough Salt is only about 20km from the end of this stage. I thought the last 20km would be ok, I was far from correct. The climb from the valley up to muckish was relentless. My legs were beginning to burn and the hills were annoying my head. I stayed positive when I saw the sign for 130km’s gone. This meant of course that I was over half way around the course and anything positive is good when the tiredness begins to set in.

The signage throughout the course was top notch and the marshals and support at every turn in the road gave the whole race a more positive feel. The sections where you go for hours without a seeing anyone are by far the hardest. I arrived at Muckish mountain in just under 4 hours and looking at my time I was about 45 minutes ahead of my predicted race time already. A quick change of footwear, a bite to eat, some tea and a toilet break saw me in and out of transition and off up the mountain by about 12.10pm.


Thats me at the base of the mountain.

Stage 4 Muckish 5km mountain hike.

Muckish would be my strongest section on the day but my plan was not to expend too much energy trying to go up and down fast, risk injury or burn out. This was a race to finish. I started the hike in 4th postion. The ground was soft and pretty nasty in areas. I met a lady half way up that was supporting Michael, her brother, who was up ahead of me. She was full of enthusiasm and like all the support on the day her encouragement pushed me on. I reached the top feeling strong and the legs were loving being off the bike. What a view from the top. A picnic would of been fantastic but it was time to start running. I ran the majority of the downhill, landing on my ass twice, but luckily on the slippy boggy sections further down. I passed Michael on the way down and came into transition a minute or two before him. I sat down to change for the bike and my first and only bad cramp of the day  hit on the inside of the leg. A good lesson to keep moving and probably not sit down at all if you can avoid it!


Bike transition for stage 5 and my helmet was found.

Stage 5. 68km Bike

Stage 5 would be a total unknown stage for me. The first 10km or so were mostly downhill with some nice rest and good speed picked up. I managed to take on lots of fluids, a few gels, some coke and some cake during this section. I knew from the race profile that more hills awaited so I needed as much fuel as possible. My second jar of overnight oats and cake at the muckish transition area wouldn’t be enough to get me as far as the marathon. This bike stage is almost a blur to be honest. I was probably tiring but I do remember the climbs going into pretty remote areas, down worn country roads, though marsh and bog land, along the coast, through small villages and up more hills. The locals were out to say hi, while some of them really didn’t seem to know what we were doing there. I was of course only the third bike through the area that day.Michael passed me half way around the stage but I quickly passed him again as he had a few punctures. Somehow he managed to fix 4 punctures and arrive into the next transition only minutes behind me. Amazing you might say.. My bike was performing well until with about 5 km to go one of the cables became fraid. I couldnt change down gear but luckily I wasn’t far from transition. Once again the timing of this was in my favour. After battling the hills and the backroads the final few kilometres were also on the main road, so my gears got their first rest in hours. I arrived in transition 4 in about 2hours and 43 minutes. My total time at this point was around 11 hours, giving me plenty time to try hit my goal time of 16 hours in total.


Garton Lake

Stage 6. 40km road and trail run.

I stayed in transition 4 for about 13 minutes, to get some decent food, some tea, soup and overnight oats into me. The volunteers were so friendly and helpful, giving us a table each, having boxes laid out and ready and offering as much tea as we wanted. I can’t thank these people enough for thier kindness at every transition. I changed, stocked up on food, grabbed an all important can of coke and started on the next stage. I was once again so happy to be on my feet, although my legs were pretty much spent at this stage. I brought my poles along as an aid, I could run and keep the weight off my knees once I had the poles. “Who’s yere man with the sticks”, was a line I heard a few times from some of the locals! As I made my way along the small road at the start of the marathon, I realised I was way overdressed. There was no breeze and the evening sun was warm. I decided to ditch my warmer long sleeve top and go with one layer, plus I had a jacket in my bag if things changed. One of the relay team guys pulled up along side me near the start and offered great words of encouragement, said i was doing so well. Another couple pulled up and told me I was an inspiration. Another family stopped and all jumped out to clap and cheer me on. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced such encouragement during a race and these people are the reason I managed to keep going.

The first 15km were on the road, gradually climbing to the start of the minors pass, a section of about 10km of trail that runs down to Garton House and along the lake. The trail then takes a turn right up over a hill though some bogland with more small lakes to one side before descending back down onto the road for the last 10km. As I did in the Race I will take this run in sections. The first as already explained was monotonous, on the road. The views were nice but the road really takes it out of you when there is little left in the legs. The trail was a welcome sight, with some downhill and I started to gain a bit of speed. I was averaging 6min/km on the road and soon brought this down to 5.30’s or so on the trail. A competitor came out of knowwhere at this point, passing me out at great speed, but withing 100metres I met him bent over getting sick on the side of the trail. Like so many others he had possibly pushed too hard and the body said no. He did manage to finish the race but lost alot of time at this point. I was still holding third for the time being with Michael, and his crew, now in sight behind me. As I made my way along the lake I could see the trout were on the evening rise and wished I could stop and drop a dry fly over them. The Moon was coming up and was huge over the hills while the sun was going down behind me. Boy was I glad I was half way through the marathon before it got dark.

I left the lake to climb the section of trail back up over the hill. I hiked the majority of this section, knowing that I still had a small lead on the group behind. I wasn’t really worried if I was passed out as I knew I was going as fast as I could and I wanted to finish and not blow up this late on. Lisa once again met me as I came off the trail and met the final road section. I would say I was at my lowest point at this stage. I was in pain. My right hamstring was sore and all my legs were screaming. My feet were good though and once I went from hiking with poles to running and back to hiking I could manage. I adopted the run the downhills and parts of the flats to hiking the uphills method. Michael passed me soon after I had met Lisa and she told me I was doing so well, was in control of my position and had only 10km to go. Lisa ran along side me for a few hundred metres and then said she needed to go to make the finish line. I laughed thinking she would have heaps of time as this was going to be the slowest 10km of my life!  The thing that saved me was that I was prepared. I had told myself in the lead up to the race that if I got this far that the last 10km would be torture.

There was no doubt it was torture but there was support out on the junctions and I had a brilliant experience in the middle of it that made me laugh and got the spirits going! As I ran through a forested section of the road I saw 6 eyes bearing downing the trail at tremendous speed. Once in view I saw that there were 3 badgers closing in on me at full tilt. The badgers ran passed my feet and on down the road as if I wasn’t there. Had I been on the trail a few days I would say I was hallucinating. There was a sight you don’t see mid race too often. But then this is a full day of adventure racing in Donegal and anything can happen. The final few kilometres on the road were sore and slow but I found myself on the home straight before I knew what was going on. I could hear the mike call out my name and the crowd cheering as I made for the line. I flashed my headlight as I crossed over and felt an amazing relief lift from my shoulders as I realised I had just finished one of the toughest 24hour races out there. All the training and all the effort came down to this. It is only now three days later that I am starting to understand what an incredible achievement it is for everyone that takes part in this race. To test yourself this way is amazing both physically and mentally.

At the finish. 15hours and 21 minutes later!

All in all the Race couldn’t of gone more to plan for me. My transitions were good, my fueling was good, I had no stomach or intestinal issues and I made the finish line. This was all I could of asked for and hopefully it will give me the confidence to try some more of these long distance events.

I have to thank Emma, my family and friends for all the support in the last few months. The training effort since Christmas has been pretty massive but the encouragement from everyone top class. A huge congrats to my training buddies Rachel Nolan and Sinead Keogh, Rachel who won the ladies race in a course record time and Sinead who came 4th. They are  incredible athletes and it has been a pleasure to train with them and make friends with them along the way.

I have to mention the battle that took place ahead of me all day. Shaun and Marty fought out to the death for the win. In the end Marty finished stronger on the marathon and Shaun came in behind him. The effort and times they put in were unreal. Both of them smashed the course record and I’ve no doubt without one pushing the other on this may not of happened. Shaun will be back to fight another day, but for now I hope he is in recovery for our High Peaks Challenge FKT in April. A far more important few days out!! .

The race stats! 4th place!

A few more pictures to round up The Race 2017.






Itera Beckons

The last two weekends have been made up of mini training sessions after the long one in Wales. Some difficult terrain, lots of hill work, kayaking and a bit on the bike have me feeling ready to believe this race is very possible and I’m glad it’s getting closer. 

The view from Diamond Hill last weekend. 

Last week we tackled diamond hill and after the third ascent realised my knee still isn’t liking the descents. No problem going up but the loading coming down is the issue. This led to lots of strength work, well some strength work this week. A focus on my glutes with eccentric loading exercises, plyometrics and resistant band work.   I felt better today on our hike out in gleann, I’m hoping with more rehab the leg will hold up fine. The mixture of bike and kayak on top of the hikes will give the leg it’s rest time so should be no problem. 

Emma’s first kayak in a while. Not a bother. 

There is just over two weeks to the race. This means a focus on staying healthy and rested and spending some time, well alot of time figuring out logistics. I won’t get into this yet, however, in time I will fill ye in on what it takes to make the start of an expedition race of this magnitude! 

Hating selfies and looking tired at the top of the hill today. 

Killarney Adventure Race 2015

So it is Wednesday, the week after the race and I am finally coming around to saying a few words.  Before I begin all the info on results and pictures can be found here at and on facebook at

I might actually start this one from the end and explain how things went wrong on the day. Let me say first of all that it was an amazing race and the organization was top class. That was until one man made one hell of a mistake!

In the weeks leading up to this race I had trained hard, raced well and ate as healthily as I could, therefore when one mistake by a marshall ruins a great chance of a good result it can be hard to take. As it was my first time of really having a chance to be in top three on a regular basis or maybe even win, it hit me hard when all fell apart last Saturday.

Our little group on the cycle ( I’m there in the middle, red shoes!)

After a great 7km hill run on strickeen hill to start I found myself in the chasing pack for the cycle. The cycle was tough but I found myself enjoying the downhills more than ever and the uphills really felt ok. The views through the fog and early morning mist were fantastic with the odd flock of sheep doing their best to derail a few cyclists. A group of four of us chased the top three coming to the end of the bike stage and I was exactly where I wanted to be. I knew the run would sort out the final positions. An 18km mountain run up and down Mangerton mountain. At the 5km mark in the run things all went wrong, I had just moved into 3rd place when my stomach started to give me trouble. A quick toilet break and a drop to 5th place was no problem, the main problem would be around the corner at the bottom of the hill. As I rounded the corner I was met by the top 4 lads running back towards me explaining we had been marshalled in the wrong direction. We ran back up the trail meeting all the top 15 athletes coming down towards us. We gathered in a group and decided the race was over as a contest. Some had done 4 km more than others and down a hill to add to that. We all decided to finish the course and not to dib in at the finish line. We carried on up Mangerton and back down again. Considering everyone was so dissapointed, be it that they were in with a winning chance, a chance of a PB, or a chance of good adventure series points, there was still some great stories, craic and fun as we plodded our way to the finish. Personally the run and cycle home was tough as the adrenalin and motivation that was driving me on had disappeared.

I crossed the line after 4 hours of racing and to be totally honest I haven’t felt so deflated in years. A total anti climax to what could of been a complete opposite feeling. These things happen though, and I think these events make you stronger and mentally fitter in many ways.

A nice shot of the kayak stage on Muckross Lake.

Next up is Sea to Summit in November and I’m looking to bring my time down and possibly break the 3 hour mark for the first time in this race.

Lough Corrib Kayak, IFI Challenge 2015.

From adventure racing to long distance kayaking. A slightly different post today.

David, Sean and I set off on Saturday morning with our safety boatman Paul for a new type of adventure and one I must highlight has rarely been achieved before. A 50km kayak of the mighty Lough corrib and on sit on top sea kayaks too. These are known for being sturdy but slow meaning this was going to be a long day.

We set out from Galway by boat at 5.30am and navigated in the dark for the first our making our way to the top of the lake at Maam Bridge on the Maam River. This was an interesting navigation in that we had good knowledge of parts of the lake, however the GPS came in handy on an occasion or two to fully plot our route. The boat journey took 1.5 hours and we arrived in Maam realising we were about to do that trip once again in reverse at a speed of 5 knots instead of 40knots. I am not too crazy about maths but if you think too much at this stage you realise there is one hell of a kayak ahead.

The first picture above is at the very top of the lake near a place called Castlekirk. As you can see the conditions were amazing for kayaking and we would have these conditions for a big part of the day. The first 2.20 hours took us down the lake, away from the mountains and into the open lake. We had covered 13km before taking our first pit stop. It was about this stage taht the wind came up and within seconds of stopping we were all frozen. Luckily Paul had the tea ready and we stuffed every sort of food in to fuel for the trip ahead. David even had tea/soup, a special new fueling mechanism when you accidentally put tea into your soup instead of hot water. Genius!

After a 20 minute break,  and a quick sprint around a nearby field to warm up again, we were off. The next section proved one of the hardest with a head/side wind hitting us from the south west. We battled across the waves, passing Inchagoill to our East and then Inishambo to our West before landing on Cussafour Island for our next pit stop. A few passing anglers waved, being so friendly in comparison to those days on patrol when we pop out from behind a bush!

There was a sailing race on the lake on Saturday too and this passed us as we had our second break. A quick change of clothes, a few rocky road bars, and we were off again. I swear by food and dry clothes in long events as being cold really zaps your energy. The next hour and a half we paddled through some shallows, around islands and through some tasty looking fishing spots, before landing on Knockferry Pier for more food. I know it seems we have eaten alot by now but we have been kayaking for 6 hours at this point. We cooked up a meal with burgers and sausages, real elite athlete food!, and after some good banter hopped back on board and decided we could make Galway in three hours if things went our way. I knew the bottom half of the lake well and a few short cuts would aid the route as well as the minds.

After skipping through some rocky areas we reached the final, daunting, Lower Lake. To make matters worse in this long section, a head wind had picked up. I decided a quick stop, stretch and most importantly a caffeine gel was needed. With the gel on board I told the lads I would push on until the mouth of the Corrib river which flows a few kilometres into Galway city. I pushed hard doing intervals, 20 strokes easy and 20 strokes really hard for the full length of the Lower lake. I was totally buzzing. I’m not sure if it was the caffeine or the finish line but I got a serious burst of energy. After reaching the mouth of the river, the real end of the lake, I waited for the lads. I met my old boss Sean and his son Mark who very generously gave me a beer to celebrate the day. It went down easy! The lads arrived and we completed the final river section together, coming home in exactly 9 hours of paddling. Not a bad day out, finishing at 7.04pm.

Almost there, arriving at the mouth of the Cut, the area where the lake meets the River Corrib.

We made it!!

I have to say it was one of the greatest events I have taken part in, enjoying every minute and feeling a super sense of achievement at the end. Who needs a medal or a chip time.

Next up Killarney and a little paddle

Check out the next adventure race series race. The Killarney adventure race is one I have yet to take part in so why not this year. After all I am specializing in new races at the moment. In the past I haven’t raced much in preparation for Sea To Summit race in November. Things have however been shaping up well of late, so why not throw another one in. As you can see in the link below this race is a tough event. It starts with a 7km mountian run, then a hilly 35 km on bike, a short kayak, a 19km mountain run and a finish of 6km on the bike. Lots of runnning which should suit although this is going to be a hard race with all the elites showing up.

The next two weeks training are important and it really is a matter of keeping up the transition sessions, my new aerobic threshold routine and a long run/bike or two thrown in. I am just in the door from 13km on the hills on what was a stunning September afternoon.

Myself and two work colleague’s have decided to take part in a big challenge on Saturday coming. We are hoping to complete a kayak of the entire length of Lough Corrib. Somewhere in the region of 60km’s. It looks like a 10 hour day on the water but we will see how things go along the way. I will blog about this event at the weekend and hope to have a few videos to entertain. There will be some challenging moments and the urge to quit many times along the way but hopefully I can document the day without using the language we will most likely be throwing around by the time the afternoon arrives.

Connemara Adventure Challenge 2015 Race Report


Myself and two work mates, Liam and Miko after race !

It was my 4th year in a row taking on this race and I have to say it was the most enjoyable today! A huge factor in this was of course the weather which was perfect for racing with little or no wind for the majority of the route.

The atmosphere at the start was a little quiet with most people not really knowing what lay ahead, including myself for some of race as the first run was changed. The first 4km was to be on the road before heading off trail and this would mean a really fast start. I wasn’t wrong about this as we headed off downhill from the startline and the first few kilometres were all around the 3.10 to 3.25 min/km. The views along the road were amazing of Killary fjord and apparently a few dolphins even waved as we passed by, however, being focused on running I missed that!

We turned onto the trail and the real race started. Soon I was at the front with two fellow racers and as it would turn out it would be a battle all the way to the line between the three of us. The trail joined the Western Way after some tricky ups and downs and a brief encounter with two sprinting lambs! The Lambs decided it was the best thing that had happened to them, ever, to see these guys running passed and started to race us. Unfortunately for them they forgot the number one rule in racing “look where you are going” They both managed to faceplant straight into a fence and the last I saw they were picking themselves up a little groggy!!

After a slog through some boggy ground, around the 10km mark we dibbed in and turned to climb the short but steep mountain. This was alot easier than previous years, mostly down to the training I have being doing of late, as well as the ground being somewhat dryer. I descended the mountain at a good pace and at the bikes we were all still within 100 metres of eachother. At this point one of the guys made up alot of ground on the off road section. I opted for the racer this year but I’m not sure it is of any great benefit in this race. After 9km of offroad hammering it was onto the main road for another 8km of roadbiking. At bike transition I was in second.


A 1km sprint to the kayaks was next. This was tricky across bog with the legs refusing to change back to running muscles after the bike.


Kayak stage, that’s me in the blue one.

I reached the kayak and set off across Killary Fjord. I was passed by guy behind me at the turning point half way and my body was starting to struggle. I hit the bank and started the last 1.5km back to the finish. At this point I encountered the guy who had been in the lead throughout and he was suffering from severe cramp. I really felt for him as he had a great race. I knew I had a chance to catch the guy ahead but in just over a kilometre I ran out of ground and crossed the line in second place. I was greeted by my parents who had so nicely come out to support and it was amazing to see them cheering me across the line. All in all 2.02 hours and 32km, so happy out.


Almost there !


Number one fans !!

Provisional results below and a few photos to follow.